More duty raids at off-licences

20 May, 2009

Two off-licences in Redditch have been raided by police as part of an ongoing investigation into retailers who evaded duty on alcohol and cigarettes.

Drinks were seized during a joint operation between West Mercia Police and HM Revenue & Customs during the latest raid, which took place in a convenience store in the Worcestershire town.

Police say they found a "substantial quantity" of beers, wines and spirits on sale without the duty having been paid, which have been confiscated.

PC Neil Sharpe, licensing officer for Redditch, said: “The revenue evaded was £1,845.64 and while we are pleased with the success of the operation, it’s disappointing that this is the second shop in Redditch in recent months to have goods confiscated in this way.

“The owners and managers of off-licences in Redditch should take note that this is an ongoing operation and we are planning further visits in the future.”

Jennie Kendall, of HM Revenue & Customs, said: “We take the illegal trade in illicit tobacco and alcohol products very seriously and those involved should be aware that we have active and effective teams operating throughout the area.

"We will continue working with our partner law enforcement agencies for the benefit of the local community.

“This black market trade can have a devastating effect on legitimate retailers who pay their taxes and comply with the rules. They shouldn’t have to compete with retailers who sell untaxed and smuggled goods to otherwise honest shoppers."

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